Page 1






TO 4,000 HOMES





$93B for state

Sheriff asking for help in solving crime

Committee gets budget after House OK By PAUL J. WEBER ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUSTIN — There’s a new Texas budget on the table, and with barely any drama this time. A marathon debate over a new two-year, $93.5 billion state spending plan ended late Thursday with overwhelming passage in the Texas House, where Republicans and Democrats brokered

deals to diffuse volatile ideological battles and trumpeted a new air of bipartisanship afterward. Clashes over Medicaid expansion could not be averted, and social conservatives fumed after the House slapped down a school voucher push that is now rendered potentially dead in the Legislature. Yet even those scrapes never escalated into full-on battles, and most House members

left satisfied over more money for public schools, college campuses and mental health. The budget bill passed 135-12 and now goes to a conference committee with the Senate. “Even when you fundamentally believe that more should be added, there comes a time when you have to recognize that posi-


Shotgun among items stolen in San Ygnacio By CÉSAR G. RODRIGUEZ THE ZAPATA TIMES

Zapata County authorities are asking the community for information about a San Ygna-

cio burglary during which the suspect or suspects made it out with $1,000 worth of items, including a 20-gauge shotgun.



TEARS, LAWSUIT AFTER MISTAKE This photo proved by the Medlen family shows Jeremy Medlen, left, and Kathryn Medlen with their dog, Avery. The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday the bereaved Fort Worth dog owners can’t sue for emotional damages when someone else is to blame for the death of a pet. The family had challenged a law after an animal shelter mistakenly euthanized their Labrador retriever in 2009.

Court: Owners can’t sue after pet put to sleep By PAUL J. WEBER ASSOCIATED PRESS


USTIN — Man’s best friend is priceless. But a dog gone is worth nothing in Texas. The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that bereaved dog owners can’t sue for emotional damages when someone else is to blame for the death of a pet. A Fort Worth family had challenged the law after an animal shelter mistakenly euthanized their Labrador retriever in 2009. Justice Don Willet wrote the 25-page opinion with flourish rarely seen from the state’s highest civil court. He opened with a dog-admiring passage from the English poet Lord Byron and opined the heartache wrought by “Old Yeller.” Yet Willet concluded that “the human-animal bond, while undeniable” doesn’t elevate to collecting money for grief. “Measuring the worth of a beloved pet is unquestionably an emotional determination — what the animal means to you and your family — but measuring a pet’s value is a legal determination,” Willet wrote. “We are focused on the latter, and as a matter of law an owner’s affection for a dog (or ferret, or parakeet, or tarantula) is not compensable.” Texas does allow owners to collect damages for wrongfully killed pets that had economic value, such as a prize-

Photo by Medlen Family/file | AP

winning show dog or a stunt canine. Jeremy and Kathryn Medlen said equally irreplaceable was their family dog, Avery, although the pet was essentially worthless in terms of market value. Avery wound up at an animal shelter after running away from home, and was mistakenly put down even though a worker at the pound placed a tag on Avery instructing that she not be euthanized. Adding to the heartbreak, the Me-

dlens had tracked Avery down at the shelter but did not have the $80 on hand to retrieve her. When they returned with the cash a few days later, it was too late. Randy Turner, the family’s attorney, said Kathryn Medlen sobbed upon hearing the court’s decision. “They never cared about the money. They just wanted to change the law,” Turner said. “This is a huge defeat for our four-legged friends.”

Dogs are considered property under Texas law. Turner argued to the high court in January how that should make collecting sentimental damages for a pet no different than suing for the negligent destruction of family heirlooms. The nine-member court disagreed in a unanimous opinion. Yet they weren’t without sympathy. “Even the gruffest among us,” Willet wrote, “tears up (every time) at the end of Old Yeller.”


Comedy on income gap a big screen hit By ADRIANA GOMEZ LICON ASSOCIATED PRESS

Photo by Warner Bros. Studios | AP

This image released by Warner Bros. Studios shows actors, from left, Luis Gerardo Mendez, Juan Pablo Gil, Gonzalo Vega and Karla Souza in the movie “Nosotros los Nobles,” or “We are the Nobles.”¶

MEXICO CITY — A construction magnate’s preppy son is forced to drive one of Mexico City’s battered green buses, while his spoiled sister waits tables at a cantina in a miniskirt and non-designer shoes. Their credit cards have been canceled, their BMWs and mansion seized. OMG! The Mexican riches-torags movie, “We are the Nobles,” has opened to

packed theaters in a country with one of the world’s widest income gaps — and a love for laughing at misfortune. More than 1 million people showed up in the first week to see the story of an impresario who fakes a government raid on his riches to teach his children the value of work. Only a Hollywood blockbuster featuring Bruce Willis and DreamWorks’ latest 3D animation beat it at the box office last weekend, the second-biggest opening for a domestic film here in more than 10

years. “Latin America is a region where middle class is very small,” said writer and director Gary “Gaz”Alazraki. “So I thought if you want to capture the mood of the public with cinema, that’s the first place to look, the contrast between rich and poor.” In the movie, patriarch German Noble’s eldest son spends his days at daddy’s company dreaming up big ideas, such as mixing the world’s largest rum and



Zin brief CALENDAR






The Texas A&M International University Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium will show: "The Little Star That Could" at 3 p.m.; "Ancient Skies, Ancient Mysteries" at 4 p.m.; and "Lamps of Atlantis" at 5 p.m. Matinee show is $4. General admission for is $4 for children and $5 for adults. Premium shows are $1 more. Call 956-326-3663. The community is invited to attend the St. John Neumann Catholic Church’s Spring Jamaica from 4-210 p.m. The festival will have cake, plants and food booths, as well as music, a country store and children’s games. Bingo will be from 3-6 p.m. A silent auction will begin at the jamaica and will extend until April 14, taking place after each weekend Mass. For more information, contact Sanjuanita MartinezHunter at 722-3497. LCC’s Lamar Bruni Vergara Environmental Science Center’s trail cleanup is from 8 a.m. to noon at Paso del Indio Nature Trail on the Fort McIntosh campus. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Call 764-5701.

Today is Saturday, April 6, the 96th day of 2013. There are 269 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On April 6, 1973, Ron Blomberg of the New York Yankees became Major League Baseball’s first designated hitter as he faced pitcher Luis Tiant of the Boston Red Sox at Fenway. (Blomberg was walked with the bases loaded; Boston won the game, 15-5.) On this date: In 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was organized by Joseph Smith in Fayette, N.Y. In 1862, the Civil War Battle of Shiloh began in Tennessee as Confederate forces launched a surprise attack against Union troops, who beat back the Confederates the next day. In 1896, the first modern Olympic games formally opened in Athens, Greece. In 1909, American explorers Robert E. Peary and Matthew A. Henson and four Inuits became the first men to reach the North Pole. In 1917, Congress approved a declaration of war against Germany. In 1943, “Le Petit Prince” (The Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupery was first published in the U.S. by Reynal & Hitchcock of New York. In 1945, during World War II, the Japanese warship Yamato and nine other vessels sailed on a suicide mission to attack the U.S. fleet off Okinawa; the fleet was intercepted the next day. In 1959, “Gigi” won the Academy Award for best picture of 1958; Susan Hayward was named best actress for “I Want to Live!” and David Niven was named best actor for “Separate Tables.” (To the embarrassment of the show’s producers, the scheduled 2-hour ceremony fell about 20 minutes short.) In 1963, the United States signed an agreement to sell the Polaris missile system to Britain. In 1973, NASA launched Pioneer 11, which flew by Jupiter and Saturn. In 1988, Tirza Porat, a 15year-old Israeli girl, was killed in a West Bank melee. (Although Arabs were initially blamed, the army concluded Tirza had been accidentally shot by a Jewish settler.) In 1998, country singer Tammy Wynette died at her Nashville home at age 55. Ten years ago: In the Iraq War, U.S. forces encircled and began flying into Baghdad’s international airport. British forces in the south made their deepest push into Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city. Today’s Birthdays: Nobel Prize-winning scientist James D. Watson is 85. Composer-conductor Andre Previn is 84. Country singer Merle Haggard is 76. Actor Billy Dee Williams is 76. Writer-comedian Phil Austin (Firesign Theatre) is 72. Movie director Barry Levinson is 71. Actor John Ratzenberger is 66. Actress Marilu Henner is 61. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Janet Lynn is 60. Actress Ari Meyers is 44. Actor Paul Rudd is 44. Actor-producer Jason Hervey is 41. Actor Zach Braff is 38. Thought for Today: “To be really cosmopolitan, a man must be at home even in his own country.” — Thomas Wentworth Higginson, American clergyman-author (18231911).

SUNDAY, APRIL 7 The Society of Renaissance Women will hold its first Spring Fashion Show from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Models will feature the latest spring fashions from Dillard’s. Appetizers will be served from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets for the event are $25 per person. For ticket information, contact Mary Soler at 286-1590.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10 The International Bank of Commerce 2012-2013 Keynote Speaker Series featuring Dr. Peter Dorfman is from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the TAMIU Student Center Ballroom. Dorfman is the president of the Board for the Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) Foundation for Research and Education in Las Cruces, N.M. He will present “Executive leadership from the GLOBE worldwide perspective: What do outstanding CEOs have in common in comparison to less than stellar CEOs?” This event is free and open to the public. Call 326-2820 or visit whtc_speaker_series.asp. Zapata High School’s track team will compete at the district track meet at Raymondville. Zapata High School will compete at the MS UIL concert contest at Kingsville High School.

THURSDAY, APRIL 11 Zapata High School will compete at Regional One Act Play and Academics in Corpus Christi through Saturday.

FRIDAY, APRIL 12 The Texas A&M International University Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium will show "Earth, Moon and Sun" at 6 p.m. and "Lamps of Atlantis" at 7 p.m. Matinee show is $4. General admission is $4 for children and $5 for adults. Premium shows are $1 more. Call 956-326-3663. The opening reception for “Casas del Ayer,” an exhibit of photographs by Isidro Antonio Gonzalez, is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Villa Antigua Border Heritage Museum, 810 Zaragoza St. The exhibit features photos of historic buildings in Nuevo Laredo, Laredo and Roma. Contact the WCHF at 956727-0977 or visit

Photo by Deborah Cannon/Austin American-Statesman | AP

Sen. Ted Cruz answers a question during an event held by the Austin Chamber of Commerce in Austin on Friday. Cruz has upset Democrats and some Republicans in Washington, D.C., by challenging established views.


AUSTIN — Back in his home state on Friday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz said no one should be shocked by the stir he’s caused after barely 80 days in office — he’s just keeping his campaign promises. “Washington is a curious place,” the tea party firebrand told an adoring crowd at an Austin Chamber of Commerce luncheon. “They are very, very surprised when you go there and actually do what you said you were going to do.” Cruz, 42, was a little-known former state solicitor general before he rode a tidal wave of fiercely conservative, grass-roots support to an upset win in last summer’s Republican primary over Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the choice of Texas’ GOP establishment. He coasted to victory in the general election.

Since arriving in Washington in January, Cruz has made headlines by embracing the role of Senate troublemaker. His first act was introducing an amendment to repeal the White House-backed health care reform law that had no hope of passing. Cruz also turned up the verbal heat on former Sen. Chuck Hagel during his confirmation hearings for Secretary of Defense. Democrats have compared his style to McCarthyism and some Republicans have bristled at Cruz’s political bomb-throwing. Cruz said Friday he doesn’t shy away from the role but “what I’ve tried to do every single day there is do my job.” The crowd gave him a standing ovation, though some of the loudest applause came when Cruz recalled that U.S. economic growth topped 7 percent in 1984, during President Ronald Reagan’s first term.

Clemency petition from East Texas killer rejected

Official: Jail guard distracted during escape

Former deputy appears in court on drug charges

HUNTSVILLE — The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has rejected a clemency request from an East Texas man facing execution next week for a fatal shooting during a home robbery more than 22 years ago. The board voted 7-0 Friday to not recommend clemency for 50year-old Rickey Lynn Lewis.

SULPHUR SPRINGS — A sheriff ’s office spokesman in East Texas says two inmates who escaped for two days took advantage of a guard distracted by several other duties. Capital murder suspect Brian Allen Tucker and John Marlin King — who recently pleaded guilty to a drug possession charge — were found Thursday in a barn in Cooper, about 20 miles from Sulphur Springs.

MCALLEN — A former South Texas sheriff ’s deputy has pleaded not guilty in federal court to drug conspiracy charges. Former Hidalgo County sheriff ’s Deputy Jorge Garza is the seventh member of the department accused of helping to steal or protect drugs to be resold by a trafficker. He was arrested Monday and had his bond set at $100,000 during a court hearing Friday.

Man pleads guilty to impersonating CIA agent

San Antonio firefighter hurt in fall at fire

HOUSTON — A Houston-area man has pleaded guilty in federal court to two counts of pretending to be a federal agent. The Houston Chronicle reports Paul Alan White, also known as Jonathan Alan Davenport, entered the plea Wednesday. Sentencing is set for June 28. He faces up to three years in prison for each violation.

SAN ANTONIO — A San Antonio firefighter was injured after falling off a ladder as he tried to rescue a resident on a balcony during a fire at a condominium complex. The reports the firefighter fell about 20 feet Thursday afternoon and was taken to the hospital with broken bones. — Compiled from AP reports

Judge: Online companies owe cities $55M SAN ANTONIO — A federal judge has ruled that online hotel booking companies must pay more Texas cities $55 million in back taxes. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia’s ruling Thursday follows a jury’s determination in 2009 that booking companies weren’t paying their share in occupancy taxes. Travel Technology Association’s Robin Reck says the association expects the ruling to be overturned on appeal.

SATURDAY, APRIL 13 The Texas A&M International University Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium will show: "One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure" at 3 p.m.; "Lamps of Atlantis" at 4 p.m.; and "Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon" at 5 p.m. Matinee show is $4. General admission is $4 for children and $5 for adults. Premium shows are $1 more. Call 956-326-3663.

TUESDAY, APRIL 16 “Relax & Reduce Stress for a Healthier You!” is set for 6-8 p.m. in room 101 of the De La Garza Building at the LCC Fort McIntosh Campus. Fee is $20 per person for the general public, $10 for LCC employees and students. For more information, call 7215110, or visit

MONDAY, APRIL 22 The exit-level ELA retest will be given at Zapata schools.

TUESDAY, APRIL 23 STAAR/TAKS exams will be given at Zapata schools.

AROUND THE NATION Kan. Senate approves anti-abortion bill TOPEKA, Kan. — A sweeping anti-abortion bill that blocks tax breaks for providers and outlaws abortions solely because of the baby’s sex cleared the Kansas Senate on Friday, setting up a House vote that could send the measure to Gov. Sam Brownback. Senators voted 28-10 for a compromise version of the bill reconciling differences between the two chambers. The House was expected to take up the bill later in the day, and if passed, supporters expect Brownback to sign it. The Republican governor is a strong abortion opponent.

Trayvon Martin’s parents settle with Fla. HOA SANFORD, Fla. — The parents of a teenager who was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer last year have settled a

CONTACT US Publisher, William B. Green........................728-2501 Business Manager, Dora Martinez ...... (956) 324-1226 General Manager, Adriana Devally ...............728-2510 Adv. Billing Inquiries ................................. 728-2531 Circulation Director ................................. 728-2559 MIS Director, Michael Castillo.................... 728-2505 Copy Editor, Nick Georgiou ....................... 728-2565 Managing Editor, Mary Nell Sanchez........... 728-2543 Sports Editor, Adam Geigerman..................728-2578 Spanish Editor ........................................ 728-2569 Photo by Christie’s | AP

This image provided by Christie’s auction house shows the painting “Blackwell’s Island” by Edward Hopper. The painting of Roosevelt Island, once known as Blackwell’s Island, in New York City will be auctioned May 23 at Christie’s. wrongful-death claim against the homeowners association of the Florida subdivision where their son was killed. The Orlando Sentinel reported Friday that an attorney for Trayvon Martin’s parents — Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin — filed

that paperwork in Seminole County and that portions of it were made available for public review Friday. According to the newspaper, the parties specify that they will keep the amount confidential. — Compiled from AP reports

SUBSCRIPTIONS/DELIVERY (956) 728-2555 The Zapata Times is distributed on Saturdays to 4,000 households in Zapata County. For subscribers of the Laredo Morning Times and for those who buy the Laredo Morning Times at newsstands, the Zapata Times is inserted. The Zapata Times is free. The Zapata Times is published by the Laredo Morning Times, a division of The Hearst Corporation, P.O. Box 2129, Laredo, Texas 78044. Phone (956) 728-2500. The Zapata office is at 1309 N. U.S. Hwy. 83 at 14th Avenue, Suite 2, Zapata, TX 78076. Call (956) 765-5113 or e-mail






ACCIDENT An accident with a deer was reported at 8:39 p.m. March 28 on La Perla Road near Arroyo Salado. An accident was reported at 1:54 a.m. Sunday in the 300 block of Miraflores Avenue. A hit-and-run accident was reported at 12:18 p.m. Sunday in the 200 block of FM 3074.


ASSAULT An assault causing bodily injury incident was reported at 5 a.m. Tuesday on Roma Avenue. The assault involved juveniles, an incident report states.

Courtesy photo

Villarreal Elementary fourth and fifth graders took STAAR exams on Tuesday and Wednesday. Day one was the fourth grade writing and fifth grade math. Wednesday continued with day two of the writing test, while the fifth grade took reading. Instructors shown are W. Lane, Swords, C. Gallegos, V. Gonzalez. Not shown are Dalia Garcia, Mirssa Martinez, Esmeralda Sosa, Jessica Navarro and Yvonne Soliz.

Grand jury indicts man

BURGLARY A burglary of a habitation was reported at 10:50 a.m. March 29 in the 500 block of Hidalgo Street.

DISORDERLY CONDUCT A disorderly conduct was reported at 1:14 a.m. Sunday in the 1600 block of Villa Avenue.

THEFT A theft was reported at 7:35 p.m. March 27 in the 200 block of Elizabeth Lane. A theft was reported at 2:25 p.m. March 28 in the 200 block of Cardinal Street. A theft was reported at 7:59 p.m. Sunday in the 1600 block of Glenn Street.

Jury picks to take place


LAREDO — A man arrested March 16 in Zapata for smuggling two Mexican nationals was indicted in federal court here this week, according to court records. On Tuesday, a federal grand jury indicted Jose Eligio Casarrubias Ramirez on charges of conspiring to transport and two counts of transporting people who entered the country illegally. Each count has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine. Casarrubias Ramirez is set to be arraigned at 11 a.m. April 11 in

Courtroom 2C before U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Scott Hacker. Casarrubias remained in federal custody on a $75,000 bond as of Friday afternoon. His arrest stems from a traffic stop made by Zapata County Sheriff’s Office deputies at about 1 a.m. March 16 near Texas 16. Deputies alleged Casarrubias Ramirez was speeding. Deputies requested U.S. Border Patrol agents for assistance. A criminal complaint alleges authorities identified Casarrubias Ramirez, a lawful permanent resident, as the driver. The two passengers said they were from Mexico. Casarrubias Ramirez was cited for pos-

session of an alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle. Agents took custody of Casarrubias Ramirez and the two passengers, a complaint states. Casarrubias Ramirez asked to speak to an attorney. One Mexican national held as a material witness stated he’d crossed the Rio Grande near Laredo. He claimed an unidentified man told him to wait for Casarrubias Ramirez at a bar. Court documents allege each Mexican national would pay Casarrubias Ramirez $1,500 to be smuggled to Houston. (César G. Rodriguez may be reached at 728-2568 or

Jury selection has been set tentatively for a man arrested Feb. 26 and accused of smuggling four people who had entered the country illegally, according to court documents. Noe Margarito Zuñiga, of Edinburg, waved his presence at arraignment March 27 but did enter a not guilty plea. A federal grand jury returned an indictment March 19 charging Zuñiga with conspiring to transport and transporting four people who had entered the country illegally. Each count is punishable with no more than 10 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine. Zuñiga, a U.S. citizen, remains out on a $75,000 bond. Federal officials said the case unraveled Feb. 26 when U.S. Border Patrol agents working a tactical checkpoint in Zapata inspected a white Chevrolet Impala. Zuñiga claimed not to know the four individuals riding with him, according to court documents. “During secondary inspection, Zuñiga freely admitted that he was smuggling the four passengers to Laredo,” a criminal complaint filed March 1 states. Zuñiga stated he’d met a man identified as “Mr. Muñoz,” who offered him “easy money” for smuggling people to Laredo. Zuñiga would’ve gotten paid about $800, the complaint states. One man held as a material witness said he paid $3,000 to be taken to Houston. A second witness said he paid $6,500 to be smuggled to Laredo. Zuñiga picked up the men from a stash house, both men state in the complaint. (César G. Rodriguez may be reached at 728-2568 or

April is Alcohol Awareness Month here SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Zapata County Community Coalition seeks to provide and disseminate realistic information on the negative effects that alcohol can have at any age during April, which is Alcohol Awareness Month. The ZCCC reminds residents of several tragic reasons, besides the law, to take alcohol-related problems and alcoholism seriously: highway death, drowning,

suicide, violent injury, disrupted families and unwanted pregnancy. An alcohol-free weekend, traditionally observed by the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in April, is scheduled through Sunday. It began on Thursday. Alcohol Awareness Month is a national grassroots effort observed by communities throughout the United States to support prevention, research, education,

intervention, treatment and recovery from alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. During Alcohol-free Weekend, NCADD and the Zapata County Community Coalition of S.C.A.N. ask parents and other adults to abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages for a 72-hour period to demonstrate that alcohol isn’t necessary to have a good time. If participants find it difficult to go without alcohol during this period, they are

urged to call S.C.A.N. at 765-3555 for information about alcoholism. NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month offers ZCCC and other community organizations concerned about individuals, families and children an opportunity to work together to not only raise awareness and understanding about the negative consequences of alcohol, but to highlight the need for local action and services focused on preven-

tion, treatment and recovery. The mission of ZCCC is the reduction of substance abuse through a commitment to the design and delivery of comprehensive prevention services. Coalition members play an active role in developing community efforts to prevent drug and alcohol abuse by partnering with the Coalition on initiatives ranging from prevention education and awareness to the development of drug-free alternative activities.







US public is uncaring to Gitmo woes By JAMES CARROLL THE BOSTON GLOBE

Two months ago, men stopped eating at the American prison at Guantanamo Bay. By last week, the Guantanamo hunger strike had spread to dozens of other inmates. The government puts the number of protesters at about 40; lawyers for the prisoners say that a majority of the more than 160 men being held are refusing food. At least 11 are being force-fed. After a visit to the detention facility last week, the Red Cross saw ”a clear link” between the hunger strike and the ”emotional state” of men held in suspended animation, illegally deprived not only of freedom, but of hope. A month ago, President Obama said, ”I am not a dictator.” He lacks the power, he explained, to ”do a Jedi mind-meld” on legislators who thwart his proposals. He was speaking of a paralyzed budget process, but he could have been talking about Guantanamo. On his first day in office, in 2009, he signed an executive order closing the detention facility ”no later than one year” from that date. It did not happen. Almost a year later, he ordered that a prison in Illinois be readied to receive detainees from Guantanamo. It did not happen. A year after that, he signed another order, to establish a review process for detainees. It did not happen.

Inaction At every stage, the president was blocked by Congress. Two months ago, the office of the State Department’s special envoy for closing Guantanamo was itself shut down, a signal of the administration’s defeat. Obama may not be a dictator, but that is small comfort to prisoners held in Cuba. For them, there is no habeas corpus; no due process; no speedy trial; no being charged, even, with a crime. More than half of those held have already been cleared by review boards, which found them to be no threat to the United States. Yet not even they have been released and repatriated. Such arbitrary imprisonment is an essential note of despotism, which is why America’s founders took pains to shun it. That President Obama bows before the limits of the Constitution, apparently washing his hands of the patently unjust fate of those being held, does not mean the Constitution goes unbetrayed.

On budget matters, at least, the president has threatened his congressional opponents by vowing to ”speak to the American people about the consequences of the decisions that Congress is making.” He has done so, with positive results. In recent weeks, the political impasse over fiscal policy has eased considerably. The president has also mounted an aggressive campaign for gun control, making, as he puts it, ”the best possible case for why we need to do the right thing.”

Two sides As for those unjustly held in Guantanamo? The president’s mute resignation on this question stands in stark contrast to his vocal determination on others. And not just vocal: This is the president, after all, who claims stand-alone authority to order assassination by drone, and to bypass Congress on immigration reform. But on Guantanamo, he can do nothing? The fact that those being wrongly punished are all Muslims should disturb Americans all the more. In the name of protecting the United States from jihadists, the policy of indefinite, extralegal detention of Muslims has surely become the extremist recruiters’ great resource. In the face of congressional stasis and presidential withdrawal, the prisoners themselves are taking action. By refusing to eat they are refusing to be ignored. A US spokesman at Guantanamo, with barely contained contempt, dismissed the hunger strike as an ”orchestrated event intended to garner media attention.” But of course that’s what it is. Getting attention is the point. If the president won’t make their case, they will make it themselves. Like hunger strikers before them, they are appealing to the conscience of their oppressors. In normal dictatorships, citizens lack the power to influence their rulers, and therefore can’t be held responsible for criminal deeds by their government. But democracy is different. The American public is fully responsible for what is done in its name. Prisoners at Guantanamo know that, which is why their refusal to eat is addressed to the nation. What must happen before this travesty is resolved? Detainees starving to death? If so, the world will see that all it takes for America to act like a dictatorship is the moral indifference of its citizens.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR POLICY The Zapata Times does not publish anonymous letters. To be published, letters must include the writer’s first and last names as well as a phone number to verify identity. The phone number IS NOT published; it is used solely to verify identity and to clarify content, if necessary. Identity of the letter writer must be verified before publication. We want to assure

our readers that a letter is written by the person who signs the letter. The Zapata Times does not allow the use of pseudonyms. Letters are edited for style, grammar, length and civility. No namecalling or gratuitous abuse is allowed. Via e-mail, send letters to or mail them to Letters to the Editor, 111 Esperanza Drive, Laredo, TX 78041.



“The world is full of guys,” Corey Flood says in the classic 1980s film “Say Anything.” “Be a man. Don’t be a guy.” President Barack Obama forgot that life lesson during a speech at a fundraiser in the San Francisco suburbs on Thursday. He sang the praises of California Attorney General Kamala Harris calling her “brilliant,” “dedicated” and “tough.” So far, so good. Then he added: “She also happens to be, by far, the

best looking attorney general in the country.” Much less good. Touting a female politician’s looks is almost never smart — particularly when there’s already a story line out there that the president’s inner circle is a boys’ club that is unwelcoming to women. (For those who insist that Obama meant the looks comment as praise and that any outrage over it is manufactured, we ask this: Would he have mentioned how “handsome” Delaware State Attorney General Beau Biden is if he had been speak-

ing at an event in the First State? Hard to imagine.) The Twittersphere exploded — with voices on the left condemning Obama for indulging a sort of lockerroom, boys-being-boys mentality and those on the right insisting that if a Republican politician had said something similar, the media would have treated it as a national scandal. (It seems that Obama’s remark drew plenty of national coverage, but that’s just us.) New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait summed up the sentiment: “For a president who has become a cul-

tural model for many of his supporters in so many other ways, the example he’s setting here is disgraceful.” Obama called Harris Thursday night to apologize. But in a week in which the president wanted to talk gun control, budget and sequester, another debate about White House attitudes toward women served as a major distraction. President Obama, for forgetting that you shouldn’t just say anything that pops into your head, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.


The winner, loser is the state By KEN HERMAN COX NEWSPAPERS

AUSTIN — The state is being asked for permission for the state to sue the state so the state can sit down with itself to try to settle a land boundary dispute involving the state and the state. This, in addition to why half of Major League Baseball has the designated hitter and the other half does not, will be added to the list of things it’s going to be tricky to explain to the Martians when they land. This is a turf war (a real one) between one arm of the state and another. And it’s kind of a battle, albeit an amicable one, between one of Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson’s functions and another of his functions. I’m not sure if this kind of stuff finds Patterson or he finds it. Either way, part of the weirdness of this deal stems from the fact that he is chairman of the board that oversees the leasing of university lands and another board that manages Permanent School Fund land. Background: Under sovereign immunity, nobody can sue the state without the Legislature’s permis-

sion. Not even the state can sue the state without the Legislature’s permission. That’s why the state Senate Jurisprudence Committee on Tuesday heard San Antonio Sen. Carlos Uresti’s Senate Concurrent Resolution 30 seeking permission for the state to sue one of its arms — the University of Texas System. The controversy is over whether future mineral revenue from about 157 acres of state land in Pecos County should go to the Permanent School Fund, which benefits K-12 education, or the Permanent University Fund, which benefits UT and Texas A&M schools. ”This basically is to get myself out of a fiduciary jam by allowing myself to sue myself to determine where the boundary lies,” Patterson told the committee, adding something about how it’s ”kind of like having two wives.” The dispute involves an 1879 survey of the property, a 1936 resurvey and a former land commissioner’s 1944 letter questioning the 1936 resurvey. Everything was OK, I guess, until 2008 when, as SCR 30 says, the UT System board ”began removing a fence located on or about the true bound-

ary of the university lands and began constructing a new fence west of the true boundary of the university lands.” The move, about 1,000 feet, was based on a 1936 survey by Frank F. Friend, who was working for UT. In 1944, J.H. Walker, who had been land commissioner from 1929-37, wrote a letter about the 1936 survey to then-Land Commissioner Bascom Giles. At the time, Walker was ”land officer” at UT’s University Lands division. ”Dear Bascom,” he wrote, ”For some years I have been making occasional investigations on the ground and in the record regarding the correctness of the Friend survey of the West Escondido System of University land in Pecos County.” The letter, heavy on surveyor-speak, makes it clear Walker was being sarcastic in a comment about Friend’s survey being ”a marvel of mathematical exactitude.” Patterson told me that he became aware of the boundary dispute when somebody out there told him about the UT fence move. Scott Kelley, the UT System’s executive vice chancellor for business af-


fairs, told the Senate committee this is ”an honest dispute. We need some impartial direction, and therefore this remedy seems appropriate.” Patterson says there’s not a lot of money at stake because, to date, there’s not been much mineral production on the land. Nevertheless, he believes it’s important to get this settled. And settled is what he expects. The lawsuit, if approved by lawmakers, would put all parties in position to try to negotiate a settlement without a real trial, according to Patterson. Kind of weird, right? But there are worse ways to settle land disputes. Anybody remember a 2003 release from Patterson headlined ”Showdown at the State Line?” ”Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson today challenged his New Mexico counterpart (Patrick Lyons) to settle a land dispute brewing between the two states for more than 140 years with an oldfashioned duel.” Best I can recall, the duel never happened. On the other hand, I haven’t heard anything about Lyons in a long time. (E-mail:




Feds keep control of prison mental health By DON THOMPSON ASSOCIATED PRESS

Photo by Brennan Linsley | AP

Marcus Weaver talks to the media after sitting in on a hearing for Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes in Centennial, Colo., on Monday.


CENTENNIAL, Colo. — New questions confronted the University of Colorado, Denver on Friday amid disclosures that a psychiatrist who treated theater shooting suspect James Holmes had warned campus police a month before the deadly assault that Holmes was dangerous and had homicidal thoughts. Court documents made public Thursday revealed Dr. Lynne Fenton also told a campus police officer in June that the shooting suspect had threatened and intimidated her. Fenton’s blunt warning came more than a month before the July 20 attack at a movie theater that killed 12 and injured 70. Holmes had been a student in the university’s Ph.D. neuroscience program but withdrew about six weeks before the shootings after failing a key examination. Campus police officer Lynn Whitten told investigators after the shooting that Fenton had contacted her. Whitten said Fenton was following her legal requirement to report threats to authorities, according one of the documents, a search warrant affidavit. “Dr. Fenton advised that through her contact with

James Holmes she was reporting, per her requirement, his danger to the public due to homicidal statements he had made,” the affidavit said. Whitten added that Fenton said she began to receive threatening text messages from Holmes after he stopped seeing her for counseling, the documents said. It was not clear if Fenton’s concerns about Holmes reached other university officials. Whitten told investigators she deactivated Holmes’ access card after hearing from Fenton, but the affidavit did not say what other action she took. Neither Whitten nor Fenton immediately responded to telephone messages Friday. The university released a statement Friday saying the documents supported its assertions in August that Holmes’ access card was deactivated when he quit a doctoral program but that he was not banned from campus. The statement did not address whether the university took any steps in response to Fenton’s warning that he was a threat to the public. It also didn’t directly address the university police officer’s statement that she deactivated Holmes’ access card because of Fenton’s

concerns. Ken McConnellogue, a spokesman for the University of Colorado System and its governing Board of Regents, said Friday the university stands by its statement that Holmes’ card was canceled “as he withdrew from school.” “We can’t comment on what was said in a police report,” McConnellogue said. Nicholus Palmer, an attorney for the widow of one of the people slain in the attack, said it’s still unclear how much school officials knew about Holmes before the shootings. “But from what’s come out, there’s clearly knowledge that this guy was dangerous,” he said. Palmer’s client is suing the university and Fenton. The indication that a psychiatrist had called Holmes a danger to the public gave momentum to Democratic state lawmakers’ plans to introduce legislation to further restrict mentally ill people from buying guns. State Rep. Beth McCann initially cited the information Thursday as a reason she would introduce a bill as soon as Friday. No date has been set. The theater massacre already helped inspire a new state ban on large-capacity firearm magazines.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal judge on Friday rejected Gov. Jerry Brown’s bid to regain state control of inmates’ mental health care after 18 years of court oversight and billions of dollars spent to improve treatment. U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton in Sacramento ruled that the state failed to prove that it is providing the level of care required by the U.S. Constitution for the state’s more than 32,000 mentally ill inmates. “This court finds that ongoing constitutional violations remain in this action and the prospective relief ordered by this

court remains necessary to remedy those violations,” the judge said in his 68-page decision. The decision is a blow to the Democratic governor’s attempts to end nearly two decades of expensive federal lawsuits that influence nearly every aspect of California’s prison system. It also undermines Brown’s efforts to lift a separate court order that otherwise will force the state to reduce its prison population by nearly 10,000 by year’s end. Brown has promised to appeal. The judge and the attorneys for both sides acknowledged that the state has made significant improvements in its treatment of mentally ill inmates since the lawsuit

was filed in 1991. That suit claimed the original care was so poor it violated the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, prompting federal supervision to be imposed four years later. The state has spent more than $1 billion on new facilities and devotes $400 million a year to caring for the mentally ill, who account for about one in every four inmates in 33 adult prisons. Yet court-appointed experts reported that the prison system still has major problems. That includes a suicide rate that worsened last year to 24 per 100,000 inmates, far exceeding the national average of 16 suicides per 100,000 inmates in state prisons.



Beard-cutting Amish fight for release By AMANDA LEE MYERS ASSOCIATED PRESS

CINCINNATI — Attorneys for a group of Amish men and women found guilty of hate crimes for cutting the hair and beards of fellow members of their faith are arguing that the group’s conviction, sentencing and imprisonment in separate facilities across the country violates their constitutional rights and amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, according to recent court filings. The filings in federal court in Akron seek the release of seven of 16 Amish convicted in September in the 2011 eastern Ohio attacks, which were meant to shame fellow Amish they believed were straying from strict religious interpretations. Although six of the requests were denied by the trial judge, one is pending, and the judge could at any time order any of them released as they await the

outcomes of their appeals, expected to be filed this summer. Defense attorneys may also appeal denials of the release requests to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. The Amish group’s leader, Samuel Mullet Sr., was sentenced to 15 years in prison, while the rest of the group got sentences ranging from one to seven years. The Amish have been sent to different prisons across the country, placing an overly harsh burden on their relatives, who, because of their religion, cannot travel by plane and have to hire drivers for car travel, the group’s attorneys argue. For instance, for Mullet’s wife to visit him and three sons convicted in the case, she’d have to travel to Oklahoma, Louisiana and two prisons 160 miles apart in Minnesota. The Amish “are being treated much more harshly than the typical federal

Photo by Amy Sancetta | AP

Sam Mullet is seen in 2011 in front of his rural Ohio house. Mullet received a 15 year prison sentence. prisoner, including those with much worse criminal histories and offense conduct,” Mullet’s attorney, Edward Bryan, wrote in a March 29 filing. “The manner in which their sentences are being carried out by the Bureau of Prisons is cruel and unusual.” Prosecutors, in their response filed on Friday, pointed out that Mullet has unsuccessfully argued to be

Lab worker had poor work history By JIM VERTUNO ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUSTIN — A Texas state police crime lab scientist whose shoddy work may have tainted thousands of drug cases had been promoted despite a history of problems doing accurate and timely work, according a review by the Texas Forensic Science Commission. A commission report adopted Friday found that Houston crime lab worker Jonathan Salvador struggled with chemistry, was told to correct his work in about a third of his cases and, according to his supervisors, routinely scrambled to keep up with monthly work expectations. Salvador was suspended in 2012 after his work at the Department of Public Safety lab came into question. More than a dozen convictions have already been overturned by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals as officials grapple with the potential scope of the impact of Salvador’s work, which involved nearly 5,000 cases in 36 counties. “The fact that this guy went on as long as he did without ever being figured out is appalling,” said Jeff Blackburn, an attorney

with the Innocence Project of Texas. “Once DPS figured it out, they did the right thing, but they should have gotten wise to him long before.” Salvador’s work came under scrutiny after a coworker told a supervisor he suspected Salvador used test results from one drug case to support a conclusion in a separate one. Investigators then retested 100 other cases Salvador worked on and found more errors. In April 2012, DPS sent an email to prosecutors telling them of the agency’s review and attaching a list of affected cases from their jurisdictions. The email also said prosecutors could submit any evidence from these cases for retesting by another DPS lab worker. The forensics commission report found Salvador’s supervisors had noted that about one out every three reports he turned in needed some sort of correction, from simple administrative fixes to more serious ones, including technical problems with his findings. The report notes other lab workers had a correction rate of less than 10 percent. Evaluations noted that Salvador struggled with an “overall understanding of

chemistry, especially in difficult cases,” the report said. Supervisors described Salvador’s struggles as “very systemic” and his work as “right on the edge” of acceptability. The report also found Salvador was promoted and given a pay raise because he was friendly and a hard worker who tried to improve. Supervisors didn’t consider the issues about his work “catastrophic,” the report said, but in at least one case, an error included a misplaced decimal point that could have led to a felony charge instead of a misdemeanor possession charge. Salvador’s poor work has created problems for prosecutors who have won convictions in his cases. The appeals court has opened the door for any Salvador case in which the evidence has been destroyed or was left in his sole custody to potentially have their convictions overturned. Earlier this year, the Texas District and County Attorneys Association told its members that all of the cases Salvador handled “may all be jeopardized.” The commission stopped short of that threshold, however, noting that in many cases, evidence still exists to be retested.

released five times throughout the case, and they cited comments from federal Judge Dan Polster that Mullet showed no remorse for the attacks and “enjoyed receiving prompt reports about the violent assaults, and even received a bag of hair as proof that one such assault was successful.” The prosecutors also said that as recently as Feb.

8, the judge noted “Mullet’s dangerous hold” on his community and that Mullet had shown “a blatant disregard for the law.” They rejected that the Amish’s placement in different prisons is cruel and unusual and said moving him would be a waste of taxpayer money. The prosecution’s filing does not address other arguments being put forth by the defense that are far broader, largely uncharted territory in the courts and could eventually land in the U.S. Supreme Court, according to attorneys involved in the case and constitutional law professors contacted by The Associated Press. Defense attorneys for the Amish are attacking the group’s prosecution under the federal hate crime statute, passed in 2009. The statute stipulates that to constitute a federal violation, the crime has to involve crossing state lines or using “an instrumentality

of interstate or foreign commerce.” In this case, government prosecutors successfully argued that the scissors and hair clippers were an instrumentality of interstate commerce. That argument is an abuse of federal power and is unconstitutional, the defense attorneys argue. Bryan pointed to last year’s landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court over President Barack Obama’s federal health care law. The court found that the individual insurance mandate at the heart of the law was not enforceable under Congress’ power over interstate commerce but rather as a tax. Bryan said that case, decided after the Amish were indicted, shows a willingness by the nation’s highest court to narrow Congress’ authority over interstate commerce, and could guide the 6th Circuit in its consideration of the Amish group’s appeal.


MCALLEN — A former South Texas sheriff ’s deputy who is the latest law enforcement officer in Hidalgo County to be accused of being on an alleged drug trafficker’s payroll pleaded not guilty Friday to a federal drug conspiracy charge. The growing federal indictment to which former Hidalgo County sheriff ’s deputies Jorge Garza and James Phil Flores were added this week now includes nine former officers, including the sons of the Hidalgo County sheriff and Hidalgo police chief. Garza waived the reading of the indictment Friday and U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos set his bond at $100,000. His attorney has declined to comment. A judge set the same bond for Flores last week. The charge carries a sentence of between 10 years and life in prison. At the center is Fernando Guerra Sr., who was ar-

rested in February. Prosecutors allege he would arrange to buy drugs in South Texas and then use corrupt law enforcement officers to intercept the deliveries. Prosecutors say what appeared to be legitimate busts were actually drug robberies with corrupt cops turning the product over to Guerra for resale. The veneer of legitimacy was critical, because drug traffickers routinely mete out severe punishments for stolen loads. In at least some instances, Guerra went so far as to make sure the person he was buying from witnessed the phony police bust to tamp down any suspicion, according to court records. An informant told authorities that Garza and Flores performed this ruse about 20 times and made about $10,000, court records say. Each load was typically more than 500 pounds of marijuana. Additionally, authorities say Guerra paid Garza to

guard stash houses where drugs were stored. The pieces started falling in December, when four former officers were charged. Three of them were members of the “Panama Unit,” a joint task force between the Hidalgo County Sheriff ’s Office and Mission Police Department targeting the street-level drug trade in that city. The Mission officers, Jonathan Treviño and Alexis Rigoberto Espinoza, are sons of Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño and Hidalgo Police Chief Rodolfo “Rudy” Espinoza. Federal prosecutors say the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement department that conducts internal reviews received a tip in August about Espinoza and another task force member stealing drugs. Federal investigators set up a sting. Those first four officers charged allegedly escorted drug loads for money in the sting last fall.


Agenda en Breve LAREDO 04/06— El equipo de softball de TAMIU recibe a St. Mary’s University, a las 12 p.m. en Jorge Haynes Field. 04/06— El equipo de béisbol de TAMIU recibe a University of Arkansas Fort Smith, a la 1 p.m. en el Estadio Uni-Trade. 04/06— Planetario Lamar Bruni Vergara de TAMIU presenta: “The Little Star That Could” a las 3 p.m.; y, “Ancient Skies, Ancient Mysteries” a las 4 p.m.; y, “Lamps of Atlantis” a las 5 p.m. Costos: 4 dólares y 5 dólares. 04/07— Como parte del Steinway Series de TAMIU, Di Wu presentará una selección de piezas clásicas para piano, a partir de las 3 p.m. Concierto gratuito. 04/07— Concierto Baile de Primavera de Laredo Community College a las 3 p.m. en el teatro Martinez Fine Arts Center del Campus Fort McIntosh. Costo: 10 dólares, adultos, y 5 dólares para adultos mayores. 04/11— La Celebración de Vida es un servicio de recuerdo para estudiantes, ex alumnos, catedráticos y personal fallecido de TAMIU, a las 6:30 p.m. en el Salón de Recitales del Center for the Fine and Performing Arts de TAMIU. Reserve su espacio al (956) 326-4483 o en 04/12— El Juan Francisco Farias Military Museum Artifact Collection, es de 9 a.m. a 3 p.m. en las escuelas Cigarroa High School, 2600 Zacatecas St.; Martin High School, 2002 San Bernardo Ave.; y, Nixon High School, 2000 Plum Street. Se aceptará: ropa, medallas y condecoraciones, herramientas, muebles, artículos personales, armas, vehículos, miscelánea. Los artículos serán donados o prestados al museo por un periodo mínimo de un año. 04/12— El Webb County Heritage Foundation invita a la exposición Fotográfica “Casas del Ayer” de Isidro Antonio González Molina, de la Sociedad Histórica de Nuevo Laredo, a las 6 p.m. en el Villa Antigua Border Heritage Museum, 810 Zaragoza St. La exhibición continuará hasta finales de junio.

NUEVO LAREDO, MX 04/06— Estación Palabra Gabriel García Márquez presenta “Bazar de Arte” (Festejo del Día Internacional del libro infantil y juvenil), a las 12 p.m.; Festival Infantil “Los niños y los libros” a las 2 p.m.; Lecturas antes de abordar, “Cuentos para niños perversos” a las 3 p.m.; Taller de creación literaria con Jacobo Mina, a las 3 p.m. Todos los eventos son gratuitos. 04/09— Colectivo Moviendo Conciencia presenta la exposición artística “Esencia de nostalgia” de 6 p.m. a 9 p.m. en el lobby del teatro del IMSS, Belden y Reynosa. Expositores: Miguel Angel Cedano, Diana Ordaz, Miguel Fernández, Diana Loredo, Norma Johnson, Roberto Teniente, Danny Summers, Mark García; Lisandro Baltazar, Osvaldo Cruz, Pedro Velazco y Tony Barraza. Entrada gratuita. 04/09— Proyecto Teatro presenta “Esencia de nostalgia” de Miguel Angel Cedano, a las 7 p.m. en el Teatro del IMSS, Belden y Reynosa. Costo: 20 pesos. 04/12— “Proyecto Frida”, muestra fotográfica de Pepe García, con Clauzen Villarreal como artista invitada. A las 5 p.m. en la Galería Regional de Artes Visuales del Centro Cultural Nuevo Laredo. Entrada gratuita. — Reportes por Tiempo de Zapata





Un hombre arrestado el 16 de marzo en Zapata por contrabandear a dos nacionales mexicanos, fue acusado en la corte federal de Laredo esta semana, de acuerdo a archivos de la corte. El martes, un gran jurado federal acusó a José Eligio Casarrubias Ramírez por cargos de conspiración para transportar y dos cargos de transportación de personas quienes entraron al país sin documentos legales.

Cada cargo conlleva una pena máxima de 10 años en prisión y/o multa de 2.500 dólares.Casarrubias Ramírez fue programado para la lectura de cargos el 11 de abril a las 11 a.m. en la Corte 2C ante el Juez Magistrado de EU J. Scott Hacker. Casarrubias continuaba en custodia federal con una fianza fijada en 75.000 dólares, hasta el viernes por la tarde. Su arresto fue resultado de un alto vial ordenado por oficiales de la Oficina del Alguacil del Condado de Zapata, alrededor de la 1 a.m. del 16 de marzo, cerca de Texas 16.

Oficiales sostuvieron que Casarrubias Ramírez iba a exceso de velocidad. Oficiales solicitaron el apoyo de agentes de la Patrulla Fronteriza de EU. Una querella criminal sostiene que autoridades identificaron a Casarrubias Ramírez, un residente legal permanente, como el conductor. Los dos pasajeros dijeron que eran de México. Casarrubias Ramírez fue ordenado comparecer por posesión de una bebida alcohólica en un vehículo. Agentes arrestaron a Casarrubias Ramírez y a los dos pasajeros, indica la quere-

lla. Casarrubias Ramírez pidió hablar con un abogado. Un nacional mexicano, quien fuera retenido como testigo material, dijo que cruzó el Río Grande cerca de Laredo. Él sostuvo que un hombre no identificado le dijo que esperara a Casarrubias Ramírez en un bar. Documentos de la corte alegan que cada nacional mexicano pagaría 1.500 dólares a Casarrubias Ramírez para ser llevado hasta Houston. (Localice a César G. Rodriguez en el 728-2568 o en




Hombre declara ser no culpable POR CÉSAR G. RODRIGUEZ TIEMPO DE ZAPATA

Foto por Miguel Timoshenkov | The Zapata Times

Oscar Medina, a la derecha, de Oscar’s Clean-Up Club, utiliza su equipo para recoger basura en el Parque Father McNaboe de Laredo, el viernes por la mañana. Le auxilian Taryn Brown y Angela Prado del Washington Middle School.

Joven lucha por mantener ciudad bella POR MIGUEL TIMOSHENKOV TIEMPO DE LAREDO

Proteger al medio ambiente y luchar por mantener bello a Laredo nuevamente brinda un reconocimiento a un joven local y su club. El primero de mayo, Oscar’s Clean-Up Club, de Oscar Medina, de 11 años de edad, recibirá un premio de parte del Texas Environmental Excellence Award, en el Centro de Convenciones de Austin. “Me siento motivado, pero creo que hay personas que han sido muy cooperativas en este proyecto que deben ser reconocidas conmigo”, dijo Medina. “Mis primos y amigos han estado a mi lado, y también personas adultas y el Gobierno de Laredo que no me ha dejado”. Medina, su club y Lynn Nava, Director ejecutiva de Keep Laredo Beautiful, el regidor Oscar Vera, del Distrito VII, y Astrid Hinojosa, Consejera de Rehabilitación Profesional y Familiar, ayudaron el viernes por la mañana en la limpieza del Parque Father McNaboe, así como en la plantación de seis árboles de encino. Fue en mayo del 2011 cuando

Medina creó su club, auspiciado por Hinojosa, durante su gestión como especialista consejera para invidentes. Desde entonces, Oscar’s CleanUp Club recorre diferentes parques de la ciudad, embelleciéndolos. Nava dijo que Medina pidió limpiar el parque McNaboe, al mismo tiempo se le tomaba video y fotografías que se exhibirían antes de la entrega de los premios en Austin. “Medina ha mostrado un gran liderazgo y ha podio escalar premios nacionales por su interesante labor frente a esta cruzada por el medio ambiente”, dijo Nava. “Es un hecho que lo apoyamos porque sabemos que su interés es buscar sembrar la semilla de la responsabilidad y de proteger nuestro entorno”. Agregó que aunque Keep Laredo Beautiful ha logrado marcar liderazgo en el medio ambiente, es sin duda Medina quien ha roto récord de reconocimientos. “Estamos muy motivados por su entusiasmo y en efecto hay que trabajar intensamente para ir creando mas conciencia”, dijo Nava. Hinojosa dijo que Medina le planteó en el 2011 su interés de

crear el club, continuó creando varios métodos para desarrollar sus metas, y el resto ha sido constante trabajo. “Fue tanto el entusiasmo que, pese a sus debilidades, no le han impedido enfatizar su interés por la limpieza”, dijo Hinojosa. “Creemos que el amor y la pasión que le asigna a cuidar el medio ambiente puede despertar a otros menores, adolescentes y adultos a trabajar por ésta causa”. Por su parte, Vera estuvo cavando pozos para la siembra de los árboles, ya que dijo que Medina les ha dado impulso a trabajar por el medio ambiente. “Si miras aquí, Oscar ha sembrado como unos 45 árboles, que ahora serán parte de una herencia que disfrutarán otras generaciones, mirando todo verde”, dijo Vera. “Acompañaremos a Oscar porque nos ha mostrado su gran liderazgo y haremos que continúe con todo nuestro apoyo”. Durante la limpieza en el Parque McNaboe estuvieron participando estudiantes de Washington Middle School. (Podrá localizar a Miguel Timoshenkov al (956) 728 2583 o al correo electrónico

La selección de jurado ha sido programada tentativamente para un hombre arrestado el 26 de febrero y que está acusado de contrabandear a cuatro personas quienes habían entrado al país sin documentos legales, de acuerdo a documentos de la corte. Noé Margarito Zúñiga, de Edinburg, declinó a su presencia en una lectura de cargos el 27 de marzo pero presentó una declaración de no culpable. Un gran jurado federal regresó una acusación el 19 de marzo acusando a Zúñiga con conspiración para transportar y por transportar a cuatro personas quienes habían entrado al país sin documentos legales. Cada cargo puede recibir castigo por no más de 10 años en prisión y/o multa de 250.000 dólares. Zúñiga, un ciudadano de EU, continuaba libre bajo fianza de 75.000 dólares. Oficiales federales dijeron que el caso se resolvió el 26 de febrero cuando agentes de la Patrulla Fronteriza de EU, trabajando en un punto de revisión táctico en Zapata, inspeccionaron un Chevrolet Impala, color blanco. Zúñiga sostuvo desconocer quienes eran las cuatro personas que iban con él, de acuerdo a documentos de la corte. “Durante una segunda inspección, Zúñiga admitió libremente que él estaba contrabandeando a cuatro pasajeros a Laredo”, indica una querella criminal presentada el 1 de marzo. Zúñiga declaró que conoció a un hombre identificado como Mr. Muñoz quien le ofreció “dinero fácil” para contrabandear a cuatro personas a Laredo. A Zúñiga le hubieran pagado alrededor de 800 dólares, indica la querella. Un hombre retenido como testigo material dijo que pagó 3.000 dólares para ser llevado a Houston. Un segundo testigo dijo que pagó 6.500 dólares para serllevado por contrabando hasta Laredo. Zúñiga pasó por el hombre a una casa de seguridad, declararon ambos hombres en una querella. (Localice a César G. Rodriguez en el 728-2568 o en


Impulsa Tamaulipas proyectos con Texas ESPECIAL PARA TIEMPO DE ZAPATA

AUSTIN — El Gobernador de Tamaulipas, Egidio Torre Cantú, sostuvo reuniones de trabajo con legisladores y funcionarios de Texas, para impulsar proyectos de desarrollo comercial, educación y cultura. Torre fue recibido en el Capitolio. “Debemos de conocer los esfuerzos que estamos realizando en ambos lados de la frontera para construir una agenda en común y

consolidar los temas que nos interesan”, expresó Torre. “Me duele mucho que hablen mal de Tamaulipas, porque no lo conocen. En el tema de seguridad no soy omiso, pero no estoy de acuerdo en que sea el único tema”. Torre expuso el problema de la migración fronteriza y los retos que representa para solucionarla. En su gira por Texas, Torre se reunió también con Joe Strauss, Presidente de la Cámara de Representan-

tes de Texas con el que abordó temas concretos sobre el desarrollo económico y social de Tamaulipas. Más tarde se trasladó a la oficina del Vice Gobernador de Texas, David Dewhurts, y un grupo de senadores a los que expuso los avances que tiene Tamaulipas en economía y comercio internacional. Asimismo acudió a la Universidad de Texas en Austin, para iniciar proyectos inmediatos para el intercambio académico.

Foto de cortesía | Gobierno de Tamaulipas

El Gobernador de Tamaulipas, Egidio Torre Cantu, quinto de izquierda a derecha, es visto junto a Legisladores de Texas, reunidos en el Capitolio en Austin, el viernes.



Hikers show dangers of rural areas By JOHN ROGERS ASSOCIATED PRESS

Photo by the U.S. Navy/file | AP

The nuclear-powered submarine USS Thresher is launched at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, on July 9, 1960. Fifty years ago 129 men lost their lives when the sub sank during deep-dive testing off Cape Cod.

Sunk sub leads to safety changes By DAVID SHARP ASSOCIATED PRESS

KITTERY, Maine — The first sign of trouble for the USS Thresher was a garbled message about a “minor difficulty” after the nuclear-powered submarine descended to about 1,000 feet on what was supposed to be a routine test dive off Cape Cod. Minutes later, the crew of a rescue ship made out the ominous words “exceeding test depth” and listened as the sub disintegrated under the crushing pressure of the sea. Just like that, the Thresher was gone, along with 129 men. Fifty years ago, the deadliest submarine disaster in U.S. history delivered a blow to national pride during the Cold War and became the impetus for safety improvements. To this day, some designers and maintenance personnel listen to an audio recording of a submarine disintegrating to underscore the importance of safety. “We can never, ever let that happen again,” said Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy, an engineer and former submariner who now serves as commander of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, D.C. This weekend, hundreds who lost loved ones when the Thresher sank will gather at memorial events in Portsmouth, N.H., and Kittery, Maine. Built at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, and based in Groton, Conn., the first-in-class Thresher was the world’s most advanced fast attack submarine when it was commissioned in 1961. Featuring a cigar-shaped hull and nuclear propulsion, the 278-foot-long submarine could travel underwater for unlimited distances. It could dive deeper than earlier submarines, enduring pressure at unforgiving depths. On April 10, 1963, the submarine already had undergone initial sea trials and was back in the ocean about 220 miles off Cape Cod, Mass.,

for deep-dive testing. Some submariners are baffled by the initial message about a minor difficulty because it’s believed a brazed joint on an interior pipe had burst — a problem anything but minor. The Navy believes sea water sprayed onto a panel, shorting it out and causing an emergency shutdown of the nuclear reactor. The submarine alerted the USS Skylark, a rescue ship trailing it, that it was attempting to surface by emptying its ballast tanks. But that system failed, and the sub descended below crush depth. Understanding their dire situation, Navy crew members and civilian technicians would have scrambled to close valves to try to stem the flooding, struggled with a ballast system disabled by ice, and worked to restore propulsion by restarting the reactor. Their deaths would have been instant because of the force of the violent implosion. The sub’s remnants came to a rest on the ocean floor at a depth of 8,500 feet. There was nothing the divers on the Skylark could do. “It’s one of those times when there’s silence,” recalled Danny Miller, one of the Skylark divers, now 70 and living in Farmington, Mo. “You don’t know what to say. You don’t know how to feel. You just know something tragic has happened.” The Thresher wreckage covers a mile of ocean floor, according to University of Rhode Island oceanographer Robert Ballard, who used his 1985 discovery of RMS Titanic as a Cold War cover that he had surveyed the Thresher on the same mission. “It was like someone put the submarine in a shredding machine,” Ballard said in a recent interview. “It was breathtaking. There were only a couple of parts that looked like a submarine.” Word of the disaster spread. Paul O’Connor, now a union president at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard,

remembers seeing the bulletin on TV. He was 6. Barbara Currier, whose husband, Paul, was a civilian worker on the Thresher, was shopping with her daughters when she heard the news on the radio in a store. What followed was a blur of activity for families. Navy officers in dress whites showed up on doorsteps. Friends and neighbors brought food. After the submarine was declared sunk, President John F. Kennedy ordered the nation’s flags lowered to half-staff. “The men, they were heroes. Most of them were doing what they wanted to do for their country to keep the country safe,” said Currier, 86, who never remarried and still lives in the same house in Exeter, N.H. were pushing things to the limit.” For the families, the silver lining is that subs are now safer. The Navy accelerated improvements and created a program called “SUBSAFE.” People involved in the SUBSAFE program are required to watch a documentary about the Thresher that ends with an actual underwater recording featuring the eerie sounds of metal creaking and bending as a U.S. Navy submarine breaks apart with the loss of all hands. Hundreds of family and friends of the Thresher’s crew, along with sailors who previously served on the submarine, will gather Saturday for a memorial service in Portsmouth, N.H. A day later, neighboring Kittery will dedicate a flagpole in remembrance of the number of lives lost. Because of their tender ages, and the lack of a body or proper grave site, children like Vivian Lindstrom, who lost her father, Samuel Dabruzzi, were unable to grieve properly. Thanks to the reunions, they at least know they’re not alone, said Lindstrom, of Glenwood City, Wis. “We’ve experienced the same things, felt the same things,” she said. “We feel like family. We call ourselves the Thresher family.”

LOS ANGELES — In Southern California, where urban sprawl meets pristine wilderness, one can stand on a backwoods mountain trail and be so close to the city as to still hear the rumble of traffic and make out a downtown skyline. Which is something, wilderness experts say, that can lead to a false sense of security. Earlier this week, two teens hiking in a section of the rugged Cleveland National Forest that is only a couple miles from a shopping mall may have fallen victim to just that when they wandered off a trail and were lost for days. Nicolas Cendoya and Kyndall Jack had planned a short Easter Sunday hike on a moderately easy trail in a section of the Cleveland National Forest that serves as the backyard for the suburban Orange County neighborhood where they live. When they wandered off the marked trail that afternoon and couldn’t find their way back, however, it took authorities days to find them. Badly dehydrated and nearly incoherent when rescuers located them, both were lucky to have survived. They are recovering in Southern California hospitals. That’s a scenario that should almost never happen, but it happens all the time in Southern California, said Mike Leum, who headed a team that hiked up a near vertical canyon wall on Thursday to rescue Jack from a small rock outcropping where the 18-year-old had taken refuge. Cendoya, 19, was found nearby the night before. There were a record 560 similar rescue efforts carried out in Los Angeles County alone last year, said Leum, reserve

chief of search and rescue for the Sheriff ’s Department. “A lot of these places you can see downtown Los Angeles from,” Leum said, noting that may give some hikers an extra feeling of security when they head out for what they believe will be just a short day hike. But even being minutes from a city of 3.8 million, or in the case of Jack and Cendoya a short drive from a suburban shopping mall, means nothing if you can’t get back down the mountain you’ve just climbed up. “And you have to spend the night there in freezing temperatures and you’re not prepared for it, then you’re probably not going to survive,” he said. In Jack and Cendoya’s case, the weather was mild every night they were trapped in the forest’s Falls Canyon, but they ran out of water by the end of their first day. Although they managed to place a 911 call seeking help, their cellphone battery died before authorities could pinpoint their location. And although the sprawling expanse of Southern California suburbia is clearly visible from the forest’s ridgelines, in the canyon where they were trapped the brush was so thick they couldn’t find a road that was just 500 feet away. Although four national forests with more than 2,000 miles of hiking trails dot Southern California, experts remind that, while the area may be crisscrossed by freeways and filled with highrise buildings, that’s wilderness people are heading into and they need to be as prepared for it as they would be entering an area that’s a hundred miles from a city. There’s no excuse, they say, for not bringing sufficient water, decent hiking shoes, proper clothes and other provisions.

MOVIE Continued from Page 1A Coke in Mexico City’s storied Aztec Stadium. His daughter is engaged to a failed businessman and aspires to open a restaurant on her father’s dime. The youngest is a hipster who preaches against capitalism, even as dad pays his private college tuition — until he is expelled for sleeping with a professor. After surviving a heart attack and getting a second chance at life, Noble decides to stage a raid on his Beverly Hills-like home. “Can someone please explain why they are confiscating all our stuff, as if we were in Venezuela?” the agitated daughter, Barbie, demands to know in the Mexican equivalent of Valley speak. “They discovered fraud,” German Noble tells her. “Jesus Christ,” she answers in English. People like the fictitious Nobles appear on any ritzy corner of the city, where Mexico’s carefully coiffed, wearing the highest fashions, can be seen stepping from the running boards of their enormous SUVs, their bodyguards lurking outside as they go for a workout or pedicure. They have been to the best schools in the world and the finest malls in Texas, but never to one of the city’s ubiquitous, crowded

marketplaces or a streetfood stand. “I haven’t seen the archetypes of urban Mexico portrayed on the big screen so well in a long time,” said Oscar de los Reyes, an expert on cinema and society at the Technological Institute of Monterrey. It’s not surprising that the social contrast is playing big in the cinema. In Mexico, 10 percent of the people held nearly 40 percent of the wealth in 2010, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America. The world’s richest man, Carlos Slim, holds more than 6 percent himself. While Americans look up to the rich, believing they too could be among them one day, the dream is mostly unattainable in Mexico, where upward mobility is smaller and slower. Videos and tweets displaying the arrogance of Mexico’s privileged class periodically go viral. One video, recorded by a passer-by, shows two rich girls, dubbed “the Ladies of Polanco” after one of Mexico City’s most exclusive neighborhoods, shoving, slapping and insulting a traffic cop who pulled them over suspecting they were drunk. In another clip drawn from surveillance cameras a man in an affluent suburb beats up the

valet of his luxurious apartment building for not providing a jack to replace a flat tire on his Porsche. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s daughter reacted to people who laughed at one of her father’s campaign gaffes by tweeting that they were “a bunch of idiots who form part of the proletariat and only criticize those they envy,” causing a national uproar. The tweet disappeared and Peña Nieto apologized. Alazraki said he was trying to capture the behavior behind Paulina Peña’s tweet in his film, whose hashtag is #WelcomeToTheProle. He acknowledges he comes from the very society he is lampooning. His father, Carlos Alazraki, is an influential advertising businessman behind several presidential campaigns and publicity for Slim’s restaurants and phone company. When he was younger, Alazraki has said in interviews, all he cared about was having the prettiest girlfriend and going to

the hottest club. After attending film school at the University of Southern California, he now pities people who stay inside the bubble of Mexico’s rich. “It’s very interesting to see our characters transform,” said Luis Gerardo Mendez, who plays Javi. “You get to see on one side how this group of people spends so much money, and on the other end, the everyday jobs people have to do to survive. People who think there is no racism here, there is. It is called classism.” The script was inspired by the 1949 film “The Great Madcap” by surrealist Luis Bunuel, in which a rich man wasting his money and life is fooled into thinking he lost his fortune. It leads his family members to take low-paying jobs as seamstresses, shoe shiners and carpenters. The three Noble offspring end up working as a bus driver, a waitress and a bank teller. “What is your biggest problem?” eldest son Javi

Noble asks a fellow bus driver. “There is this chick from my town who says that her child is mine and she wants me to send her money. But she can’t prove it. So, until I send her money, she will send her cousins with sticks and machetes...” “For that, you need bodyguards,” Javi tells him. Barbie, meanwhile, ends up falling for her nanny’s nephew, a youth she once teased for being poor. When he tells her that he used money her father loaned him to open a stand selling pirated CDs, she scolds him: “Did you know that drug traffickers run those informal CD shops ... Seriously, you are only fostering crime in this country.” He becomes enraged. “The criminals are your little friends,” he says. “Don’t tell me you don’t know about the two friends who were at your most recent party. The politician’s sons. Haven’t you seen the videos? Everyone did. If you are really worried

about your country, don’t feed them, don’t invite them to your parties, don’t get on their yachts.” Moviegoers said they find a lot of reality in the humor. Arturo Lopez, who works in construction, said he has friends like the Nobles. “Here, your social status depends completely on what you have,” he said at an exclusive movie theater in high-end Polanco. “It’s really ugly, but there are many people like that.” Maria Larios, a nurse, paid a third of the luxury theater’s ticket price to see the same film in the middle-class neighborhood of Santa Maria La Ribera. “This is real,” Larios said. “There are people who are very picky and stuck-up. When the roles are reversed, it changes them, brings them down to earth.”



VICTORIA R. GARZA Victoria R. Garza, 84, passed away Saturday, March 30, 2013 at her residence in Zapata, Texas. Ms. Garza is preceded in death by her husband, Francisco F. Garza, Jr. Ms. Garza is survived by her daughters, Victoria (Marcos) Discua and Myra (Juan) Bonilla; grandchildren, Johnny Jr. (Gabriela) Scarberry, Francisco Manuel Rios and Charles (Myra) Scarberry; and by numerous great-grandchildren and friends. A funeral Mass will be held Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church following a graveside service at Zapata County Cemetery. Funeral arrangements

SHOTGUN Continued from Page 1A Zapata County sheriff ’s deputies responded to burglary of a residence call on March 29 in the 500 block of Hidalgo Boulevard in San Ygnacio. A 59-year-old man said someone had broken into his home. Sgt. Mario Elizondo said the suspect or suspects stole a flat-screen Magnavox television set, a large blue car jack and a 20-gauge Remington shotgun. The sheriff ’s office recorded at least two more incidents in San Ygnacio in a two-week span. On March 24, a 30-yearold woman reported in the 200 block of

are under the direction of Rose Garden Funeral Home, Daniel A. Gonzalez, funeral director, 2102 N. U.S. 83 Zapata, TX.

LAURA P. RAMOS Laura P. Ramos, 37, passed away Thursday, April 4, 2013 at Doctor’s Hospital in Laredo, Texas. Mrs. Ramos is preceded in death by her son, Carlitos Ramos; and her father, David Santos. Mrs. Ramos is survived by her husband, Adolio Ramos; sons, Adolio Ramos Jr. and Jose Angel Ramos; daughter, Victoriana Ramos; mother, Marina M. Gonzalez; brothers, Jose Adolfo (Patricia) Santos and David Jr. (Araceli) Santos; sisters, Claudia (Eusebio) Silva and Marina S. Ramirez; and by numerous nephews, nieces and other family members. Visitation hours will be Friday, April 5, 2013 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. with a rosary at 7 p.m. at Rose Garden Funeral Home. The funeral procession will depart Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 8:30 a.m. for a 9 a.m. funeral Mass


at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. Committal services will follow at Zapata County Cemetery. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Rose Garden Funeral Home, Daniel A. Gonzalez, funeral director, 2102 N. U.S. 83 Zapata, TX.

Juan J. Gonzalez, 72, passed away April 4, 2013 at Laredo Medical Center in Zapata, Texas. Mr. Gonzalez was a 1961 graduate of Zapata High School. He loved baseball, boxing and music. Mr. Gonzalez is preceded in death by his parents, Melquiades and Maria Antonia Gonzalez; brother, Melquiades (Francisca) Gonzalez; sisters, Cora (Mario) de los Santos, Zulema (Felix) Carreon and Maria Cristina Torres; and brother-inlaw, Manuel L. Santiago. Mr. Gonzalez is survived by his wife, Estela G. Gonzalez; son, Juan J. Jr. ( Martina) Gonzalez; daughters, Antonia (Steven) Todd and Alma Gonzalez; grandchild, Juan J. Gonzalez III; brothers, Heberto (Maria) Gonzalez and Jorge (Elda) Gonzalez; and sister, Ofilia Santiago; and by numerous other family members. Visitation will be held April 7, 2013 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. with a rosary at 7 p.m. at Rose Garden Funeral Home. The funeral procession will depart April 8, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. for a 10 a.m. funeral Mass at Nuestra Senora del Refugio Mission in San Ygnacio, Texas. Committal services will follow at the Panteon del Pueblo. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Rose Garden Funeral Home, Daniel A. Gonzalez, funeral director, 2102 N. U.S. 83 Zapata, TX.

ELOISA CORONADO DE MARTINEZ Eloisa Coronado de Martinez, 103, passed away Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at her residence in Zapata, Texas. Ms. Martinez is preceded in death by her husband, Benito Martinez; sons, Juan F. Martinez, Benito Martinez Jr., Eloy R. Martinez, Mauro M. Martinez and Angel Martinez; grandson, Benito Martinez; great-grandson, Abel Villarreal; daughters-in-law, Helga Martinez, Barbara Hyde, Lupita Benavides, Linda Martinez and Amanda O. Espinoza; parents, Clemente and Guadalupe Coronado; four sisters; and a one brother. Ms. Martinez is survived by her sons, Jose Luis Martinez, Carlos S. (Maria Elena) Martinez and Gilberto (Joyce) Martinez; daughter, Mercedes (Alfredo) Gonzalez; 25 grandchildren; 54 greatgrandchildren; 55 great-

great-grandchildren; daughter-in-law, Josefa M. Martinez of San Diego, Texas; and by numerous nephews, nieces and friends. Ms. Martinez was a member of Sacred Heart Society; she loved cooking for all her family and enjoyed having everyone over. Special thanks to her caregivers, Claudia Gallegos, Maria C. Ladesma, Dora Bustamante, Lupita Villanueva

and Elisa Carmona and also to Amistad Home Health and Texas Visiting Nurses. Visitation hours were Thursday, April 4, 2013 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. with a rosary at 7 p.m. at Rose Garden Funeral Home. The funeral procession departed Friday, April 5, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. for a 10 a.m. funeral Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. Committal services followed at Zapata County Cemetery. Funeral arrangements were under the direction of Rose Garden Funeral Home, Daniel A. Gonzalez, funeral director, 2102 N. U.S. 83 Zapata, TX.

Martinez that someone had stolen a child’s pink wheelchair. On March 27, a 28-year-old woman reported in the 200 block of Elizabeth Lane that someone stole an iPad mini and its carrying case. Deputies said the stolen items had an estimated street value of $417. Deputies are investigating the incidents. People with information about the cases are asked to call the sheriff ’s office at 765-9960. (César G. Rodriguez may be reached at 728-2568 or

BUDGET Continued from Page 1A tive steps are taken,” Democratic state Rep. Sylvester Turner of Houston said. “I will vote proudly yes on this bill, because there are major accomplishments in this bill.” Critics say the bill doesn’t spend enough to cover the needs of a rapidly growing Texas population, but a major spending battle never erupted on the House floor. The House plan boosts state spending across the board by 7 percent. State employees would see small raises and financially shaky state parks would be spared from closure, symbolic of the Legislature’s spending power made possible by a roaring Texas economy. Voting out the House budget is a significant milestone in a 140-day session that has enjoyed relatively feel-good bipartisanship — at least compared to the acrimony in 2011, when the Republicancontrolled Legislature cut the budget to the bone. “We’ve been able to restore significant portions of last session’s cuts,” said Republican state Rep. Jim Pitts, the House’s chief budget writer. “We’ve not done so recklessly, and we have not replaced every dollar removed from last session.” But dollars didn’t set off the most intense clashes. Nearly 270 amendments were filed for debate, and none flared emotions more than add-ons related to Medicaid and school vouchers. As the floor session approached its 10th hour, conservatives scrambled to make a fresh stand on Medicaid — after the Republican-controlled House initially adopted an outline of how the state might expand health care to the working poor. Gov. Rick Perry has vowed not to expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act. Approval of an amendment to merely open the door to Medicaid expansion negotiations drew instant criticism from conservative activists outside the Capitol, and Republicans later pulled the vote back. But one defeat that will stick with social conservatives was passage of an anti-school voucher amendment. The measure passed the House 103-43 and dealt a potential knockout punch to a priority item of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and other Senate leaders. Many House members are uneasy about vouchers, arguing that giving parents state funds to let them pull their children out of underperforming public schools and enroll them in private campuses siphons money from cash-strapped school districts. Republican state Rep. Debbie Riddle of Tomball blasted the Democrat behind the proposal, Rep. Abel Herrero of Robstown, for denying parents the choice she said his own family could afford. “You have the wealth to make that choice, yet you want to keep poor families from making it,” Riddle said. Backroom deals doused other potential fireworks. A bipartisan pact led to the withdrawal of amendments related to women’s health and abortion, avert-

We’ve been able to restore significant portions of last session’s cuts. We’ve not done so recklessly, and we have not replaced every dollar removed from last session.” STATE REP. JIM PITTS

ing the rehash of another intense political feud in 2011 when the Legislature cut state funding to Planned Parenthood. Rep. Bryan Hughes, among the leading tea party members in the House, said both sides backed down since funding for women’s health would increase and taxpayer dollars are already off-limits to health providers linked to abortion services. “We were able to get that done without having some divisive debates on the floor,” Hughes said. Combined with federal dollars, the total price tag of the bill is $193.8 billion. The budget plan doesn’t restore about $15 billion lawmakers slashed in 2011 — which included about $5.4 billion cut from public schools. The House budget restores about $2.5 billion to school districts, $1 billion more than the budget passed by the Senate last month. Sneaking more money into schools emerged early Thursday as one of the Democrats’ major concerns. “It’s a huge chunk of money to restore what was cut,” Democratic state. Rep. Donna Howard said of the school spending. “Not what we wanted to be, obviously, but it did restore.” Even though nearly every state agency is in line for additional funding under the House budget, there are some exceptions. Neither of Perry’s two signature economic development programs, the Emerging Technology Fund and the deal-closing Texas Enterprise Fund, would receive new taxpayer dollars for private businesses. Replenishing the scandal-wracked Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas is also on hold until sweeping reforms pass both chambers. The $3 billion cancer-fighting agency, known as CPRIT, is under criminal investigation and a spending freeze following the revelation of grants that bypassed the review process. About $594 million is on the table for CPRIT if reforms are passed. The most significant reform bill cleared the Senate this week.






Swinging through spring

The Zapata boys’ and girls’ golf teams placed third at the LBJ tournament on March 26 at the newest Laredo golf course, The Max Mandel.

Zapata tennis, golf keep momentum toward postseason tourneys By CLARA SANDOVAL THE ZAPATA TIMES

Zapata is remaining active during the final day of the District 31-3A tennis tournament, held in Harlingen at the HEB Tennis Center. “We did not have a tournament (before district), so we have focused on conditioning,

stroke consistency and serve reliability,” Zapata coach Robert Alvarez said. “The seed and draw meeting for the district tournament was held Thursday in Lyford and, I must say, I was pleased with the outcome. “Our players are where they need to be. Now it is a matter of playing well and coming through. I really think we have

a good chance at both the boys’ and girls’ district titles.” In boys’ singles, Chris Davila is seeded No. 2, while Manuel Benavides is seeded No. 3. Kingsville’s Juan Rios is the top seeded. “I am hoping Manuel or Chris can upset Rios,” Alvarez said. “He is tough, but Chris has played him close — only

losing 6-4, 7-5 at the Falfurrias Tournament.” In boys’ doubles, Trey Alvarez and Alex Reyes are the top seeds, but they will face tough Kingsville doubles teams in competition. “This is the Brahmas toughest division,” Alvarez said. “Both teams are really good. We did beat both in Kingsville, but

it was close between Kingsville’s No. 1 team and us. We just won it 4-6, 6-1, 16-14.” In mixed doubles competition, Gaby Alvarez and Carlos Poblano are No. 2, and Javi Fernandez and Samantha Garcia are seeded fourth.


Courtesy photos

Zapata’s boys’ and girls’ tennis teams are remaining active during the final day of the District 31-3A tennis tournament, held in Harlingen at the HEB Tennis Center.


Photo by Karen Warren | Houston Chronicle

CSN Houston has compiled an online petition with 91,665 requests and counting for the channel. The network has launched a webpage dedicated to the petition and information on how to get the channel at Photo by Tony Gutierrez | AP

You may be missing out What are your plans for tonight? They probably will play out something like this: Get off work at quitting time. Sit in the car for about 15 minutes — give or take — on your go-home commute. Eat something that you either cooked at home or grabbed on a go-home-commute detour. Turn on the TV to watch your favorite team. Well, there’s some bad news waiting for you if your


team of choice happens to be the Houston Astros and, chances are, as a Texan that you bleed either Astros Orange or Texas Rangers Blue. The Astros won’t be anywhere on your big-screen TV; the channel — Comcast SportsNet Houston — that carries the Astros, Houston

Rockets and Houston Dynamo is not carried by any of our area’s cable or satellite providers. In fact, it’s only carried by 58 percent of Houston-region televisons, according to a report by Houston’s local ABC affiliate. So 58 out of every 100 Houstonians get to see the Astros. You can bet that number drops significantly when applied to Texas television sets.


Robbie Parker, left, receives a hug from Texas Rangers representative Ivan Rodirguez (7) after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before the game between the Los Angeles Angels and Rangers on Friday. Parker’s daughter was among the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting.


ARLINGTON — Longtime Texas Rangers fan Robbie Parker grabbed former star catcher Ivan Rodriguez in a long embrace and didn’t seem to want to let go. A few months ago, Parker never would have imagined crying on the

shoulder of one of his boyhood heroes. But a lot has happened since December and here he was, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch in honor of his 6-year-old daughter, Emilie, who was among the 26 killed in the mass school shooting in Newtown, Conn. So when Parker tossed the ball all the way to the

14-time All-Star’s glove — he’d spent the last few weeks worrying about making a good throw — he held on tight when he and Rodriguez met halfway between the mound and home plate, his wife and two daughters watching nearby and thousands standing and





Playing Cinderella has become more common By JIMMY BURCH FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM

As coach of the lowest-seeded team to reach the Final Four, Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall will accept the role of underdog this weekend in Atlanta. Just don’t compare his Shockers to any Disney character. “Cinderella found one glass slipper. We won four games,” Marshall said in a teleconference earlier this week with Final Four coaches. “I don’t think she found four glass slippers. Cinderella usually wins a game or two. . When you get to this point, you’re good enough to win it all.” For teams from non-BCS leagues like Wichita State (30-8), the Missouri Valley Conference’s first Final Four entry since Larry Bird’s Indiana State team reached the championship game in 1979, the NCAA Tournament is becoming a proving ground more than a mine field in recent seasons. Wichita State is the seventh team from outside college basketball’s six power conferences to reach the Final Four in the past decade and the fourth to do so in the past four seasons. Teams from the Horizon League (Butler, twice) and Conference USA (Memphis)

Photo by David J. Phillip | AP

For teams from non-BCS leagues like Wichita State (30-8), the Missouri Valley Conference’s first Final Four entry since Larry Bird’s Indiana State team reached the championship game in 1979, the NCAA Tournament is becoming a proving ground more than a mine field in recent seasons. have played for three of college basketball’s last five national championships. None of them have cut down the nets. But their success, combined with the widespread parity of this year’s regular season and NCAA Tournament, suggests that a Final Four run by an under-theradar underdog is becoming the norm, not the exception, in today’s college basketball. In simpler terms: There should be nothing shocking about the

Shockers rolling through the West Regional as a No. 9 seed to set up Saturday’s showdown against topseed Louisville (33-5) in Atlanta. After all, double-digit seeds from Virginia Commonwealth (No. 11, 2011) and George Mason (No. 11, 2006) have had their Final Four moments in recent seasons, too. Yet in an era of unprecedented parity in men’s college basketball, punctuated by the annual exodus of one-and-done freshmen stars heading to the NBA Draft, we’re

still stunned when lower-seeded teams notch a series of high-profile victories in March. That is why Marshall, in his sixth season at Wichita State following a decade at Winthrop (1998-2007), has seen his cell phone blow up this week with congratulatory text messages from peers at other programs run on shoestring budgets compared to the deep-pocketed bluebloods — Louisville, Michigan, and Syracuse — who will join the Shockers at the Final

Four. But every successful Final Four run by Wichita State, George Mason, VCU or Butler blurs the line between which programs truly offer the “bigger, better job” in college basketball. Because it takes only two elite athletes and a handful of role players to put a basketball program on the map, unlike the double-digit supply of threeand four-star signees needed for sustained success in college football, turnarounds can happen quickly in hoops. If those players bond over multiple seasons, they can shock the world as seniors. The more upstarts that advance, the greater the opportunity for Cinderella to wind up at the Final Four. Although Marshall dislikes that label, Louisville coach Rick Pitino said it fits the Shockers as well as the Providence team he took to the 1987 Final Four, Pitino’s first as a college coach. If the Shockers can continue to play stifling defense in Atlanta, they could become the first team from a non-BCS league to win an NCAA title since UNLV in 1990. At the very least, they are the latest in a growing line of under-theradar programs using the Final Four to show the nation they are capable college teams, not just Cinderella stories.

RANGERS Continued from Page 1B

Photo by Pat Sullivan | AP

Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish ends the 8th inning against the Houston Astros. Darvish pitched 8.2 perfect innings in the Rangers’ 7-0 win.

Yu comes within sight of perfection By KRISTIE RIEKEN ASSOCIATED PRESS

HOUSTON — Texas manager Ron Washington was certainly impressed as he watched Yu Darvish flirt with perfection. He was even more blown away when he saw a television replay of the Japanese star coming within an out of the second perfect game in Rangers history. “It wasn’t as nasty looking from the side as it was when I saw it on TV,” Washington said Wednesday. “He was nasty. I mean, his ball was moving all over the place. He had his cutter working. He had a breaking ball. He threw some splits. He threw a couple of changeups. He threw very few four-seamers. To watch it after the fact, I said he was dominating.” The celebrated right-hander struck out a career-high 14 in a 7-0 win over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night. He was in complete control before Marwin Gonzalez grounded

the first pitch he saw up the middle with two outs in the ninth inning. Darvish was unable to get his glove down in time and the ball skittered into center field well beyond a desperate dive by shortstop Elvis Andrus. Washington immediately went to the mound and signaled for a reliever after the hit by Gonzalez. He’d decided in the eighth inning that he’d pull him the moment there was a hit or a walk. Of course, Washington didn’t want to see Darvish lose the perfect game, but if it had to end, he was relieved it ended on a hit instead of a walk. Darvish’s 14 strikeouts were three more than his previous career-high of 11, and the most by a Rangers pitcher since Nolan Ryan had 14 against the Angels in July of 1991. Tuesday’s victory gives Darvish five straight regular-season victories dating to last season. He took the loss in the Rangers’ 5-1 loss to Baltimore in the AL wild-card game.

ZAPATA Continued from Page 1B “Kingsville’s team is top seeded and they are really good,” Alvarez said. “They have beaten us twice this year, but we have been getting closer. Lyford also has a strong team, seeded third, but Javi and Sam are capable of playing really well.” Girls’ singles sees Christina Martinez seeded first and Jackie Umphres is third, while Kingsville’s No.1 girl is seeded second. “Christina and Jackie have really improved from last year,” Alvarez said. “Christina has defeated the two seed this year already. Jackie has the game to beat the two seed, so an all-Zapata final is possible. “ In girls’ doubles, Araceli Velasquez and Virginia Solis are seeded second. “Araceli and Virgi were doing well in (junior varsity) singles, so I paired them up and they are a solid team,”

Alvarez said. “The No. 1 seed is the Kingsville team and they are tough, but I hope we play them in the finals. “I believe we are ready to go down to Harlingen and play our best tennis. I hope we can take a record number of players to the regional tournament. They have worked very hard and I am very proud of them.”

Golf The Zapata boys’ and girls’ golf teams placed third at the LBJ tournament on March 26. The tournament was held at the newest Laredo golf course, The Max Mandel. The girls scored a 394 team score, and the boys scored a 366. (Clara Sandoval can be reached at

cheering at sold-out Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Friday. “It was really tough to try to keep my emotions under control there,” Parker said a few minutes later, still fighting back tears. “It was pretty amazing.” Rodriguez offered more than just a hug — two, actually. “He said, ‘I just want you to know how much I love you,’ and he just said your daughter is being a great example to so many people,” Parker said. “And he just pointed to the crowd and said, ‘All these people are here for you and they’re here because of her.”’ Not long after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, a photo circulated of Parker and Emilie at Fenway Park in Boston last year, the girl holding a home run ball hit by the Rangers’ David Murphy during batting practice. When Parker would watch his beloved Rangers on TV, Emilie would ask about “the guy who hit that ball.” Less than a year later, Murphy walked to the mound holding the hand of one of Emilie’s sisters, gave Parker a hug and picked up one of the girls. “They’ve got a game to play and they’ve got to focus and so I didn’t want to be a distraction to anybody at all,” Parker said. “But he’s just a nice guy. That was really special that he was able to do that for us.” It was the second time in the past two years fans here have had tears in their eyes because of tragedy. In September 2011, 6-year-old Cooper Stone stood on the pitcher’s mound and tossed the ceremonial first pitch of the playoffs two months after his firefighter father fell to his death while trying to catch a ball thrown to him by Josh Hamilton in the outfield. Parker grew up a Rangers fan because he spent al-

most all of the first 10 years of his life in Arlington, not far from Rangers Ballpark. When his family moved back to Utah, where he was born, he made his mother promise they could go to one Rangers game a year. When his brother got married, Parker took Emilie to her first Rangers game when she was 3 months old. His job as a physician’s assistant has taken him to several cities, so they caught a game in Seattle when he was working there, and even went to see one of the Rangers’ minor league teams in Albuquerque, N.M. They went to last year’s game in Boston when a family member was there to run the Boston Marathon. When Rangers officials saw the photo from Boston, they reached out to Parker about the season’s first ceremonial pitch before the home opener against the Angels. The Rangers say thousands of dollars have been raised in North Texas for the Emilie Parker Fund, started by two of Parker’s high school friends to support the 26 families affected by the shootings. Parker’s brother, Jeremie, still lives in the area. Parker said it made sense to make the trip, and seemed glad he had. As a bonus, the family got to meet Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan, another great from Parker’s years in Arlington, and former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura. “I guess there’s a little room where the VIPs get to hang out and we were just invited to kind of hang out for a little,” Parker said. “But that’s definitely not where we belong. We belong in the $5 seats up top.” Not on a day that he and thousands of teary-eyed Rangers fans won’t soon forget.

GEIGERMAN Continued from Page 1B To put it in more hardball terms, the Astros won three-fewer games in 2012 than the percent of Houston’s population that can view them. The Astros are rebuilding after a 55107 season, but are in a new-look American League West with new owners, new players and new opponents. The time is now for the Astros to start over in the hearts of every Texan. But it could quickly turn from a time to shine to out of sight, out of mind. Houston’s first three games were easily viewable to everyone, with the Opening Day 8-2 victory over the Rangers on ESPN, and the subsequent shutout losses that both aired on Fox Sports Southwest — the Rangers home and former home of the Astros. We all got a taste, but much like a Sunday trip to Sam’s Club, that sample will be the extent of it unless someone ponies up the cash for the new sports channel. “We want the fans to get to know our players. We have a lot of young players. They’re not household names. We’re hoping they’re going to become household names,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told ABC 13 in Houston. Astros owner Jim Crane, the largest stakeholder in CSN Houston — a joint venture between Comcast, the Rockets, and the Astros — added: “It’s terrible for the fans. We really want to get these games on TV and we’re very concerned about. We work on it every day. It’s not good. And we feel it’ll get worked out relatively soon.” CSN Houston has aired the Rockets since the NBA season tipped in October and the Dynamo since the MLS season kicked off in March. Tonight’s Astros game against the Oakland Athletics will be the second Astros-only broadcast on CSN Houston. In a statement Wednesday, CSN Houston told ABC 13, “We continue to work day and night until this is

Photo by Karen Warren | Houston Chronicle

The Astros won’t be anywhere on your big-screen TV; the channel — Comcast SportsNet Houston — that carries the Astros, Houston Rockets and Houston Dynamo is not carried by any of our area’s cable or satellite providers. resolved, but fans should recognize that they hold more power than they realize. We urge all fans to call their television providers and demand the network. At the least, fans should demand a reduction in their monthly bills as many are paying the same amount as last year, except now they are not getting to watch the Astros, Rockets and Dynamo.” The dispute between the network and providers has raged on, with CSN Houston compiling an online petition with 91,665 requests and counting for the channel. The network has launched a webpage dedicated to the petition and information on how to get the channel at Unsurprisingly, as of right now, Comcast is the only major provider to carry the network.

According to the ABC 13 report, it asked DirecTV, Dish Network, and AT&T for their comments on the negotiations, but only DirecTV responded, saying in part, “We too want to enable any Astros fans to have CSN Houston. If the Astros and Comcast will agree to make the channel available only to those customers who want to pay for it or make it more reasonable for all of our customers, we can have an agreement completed very soon.” The mind games will rage on, it seems, with only Astros fans and the unviewable games serving as the money war’s casualties. Although the metaphor alludes to basketball rather than baseball, I’m still closing with it: the ball is in the viewer’s court. If the Astros are your ballclub, make your voice heard; if not, keep cheering for whoever is.



HINTS | BY HELOISE Magazines Become Works of Art Dear Heloise: Recently, you had a column on a useful donation to veterans hospitals for recently issued MAGAZINES. At the same time, you requested that the magazines be from within the past two months (Heloise here: Veterans hospitals and other places that use them for reading material would prefer current issues). My experience on the subject is that there are untold piles of decor magazines probably in attics. People do not want to discard them, and church bazaars, thrift shops and such don’t want them. My idea is to have the magazines put to use by very young students in public schools’ art classes using cookie cutters and scissors to create their wonderful works of art. Even children who cannot draw surely would take delight in pasting different colors on paper as in modern art. In Japan, origami is credited with teaching young children the basics of geometry —— squares, circles, rectan-


gles and so on. Arranging the colored pieces of paper should have the same result. Great fun! —— Elizabeth Hickey, Washington, D.C. Recycle and reuse are good habits to teach our young students and for us to remember, and passing on magazine pages is a good example of both. These “ready to throw out” books also can be used as good filler for the new way of scrapbooking, where odds and ends of paper make journals. Yes, using pages from magazines can help people learn math, language and other skills. —— Heloise PET PAL Dear Readers: Rita and Don Cetrone of Billings, Mont., sent a photo of their miniature schnauzer, Stormy, comfortably lying on the floor with his tennis balls, just waiting for someone to play with him. To see Stormy, go to www. and click on “Pets.” —— Heloise





DAILY CRYPTOQUOTES — Here’s how to work it:




The Zapata Times 4/6/2013  
The Zapata Times 4/6/2013  

The Zapata Times 4/6/2013